The Challenge of Teaching Evolution in the Islamic World

Friday, February 18, 2011: 3:00 PM-4:30 PM
102B (Washington Convention Center )
It is well known that the teaching of evolution in North America often generates headline-making social controversy due to vocal opposition from Christian fundamentalists. Although individual adherents may hold varying opinions on evolution, the mainstream Protestant denominations and the Catholic hierarchy have long accepted evolution and find it to be compatible with their faith. But for Christians who remain creationists, a major stumbling block appears to be their inability to reconcile evolution with a strictly literal interpretation of Genesis. Given the current trend of increasing conservatism in parts of the Islamic world, the potential for the growth of antievolutionism among Muslims is alarmingly high. Variations in how evolution is perceived and presented in science classrooms in Islamic countries can be anticipated because of many cultural differences among them, which is also the case with different Christian denominations. Participants in the symposium have studied how evolution is taught in a variety of countries across the Islamic world and have indeed found both differences and similarities in how evolution is thought about and taught in Muslim cultures. They have also illuminated parallels and key contrasts with the evolution education struggles of the West.
Eugenie C. Scott, National Center for Science Education
Joshua Rosenau, National Center for Science Education
Taner Edis, Truman State University
A Brief History of Islamic Creationism in Turkey
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